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Has anyone been to Monadnock Park or Francestown, NH?

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May 9th, 2011, 03:32 PM
  #1
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Has anyone been to Monadnock Park or Francestown, NH?

We are looking at going to the Crotched Mountain Resort in Francestown, NH in November. Having never been to New Hampshire, we are wondering what the area is like and if there is enough to keep our interest for a week? We like to hike and like the great outdoors.
TIA!
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May 9th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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Cheezz, there is plenty of great hiking in the area, just keep in mind it is past fall foliage season, the trees will be bare, and it could be on the chilly side (do not know what you are used to for hiking temps). That said, we have guests that come every mid-November to hike.

If you want more specific hiking information, I am happy to share.

-Rob
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May 9th, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Rob - thank you so much for your quick response. As it turns out, I have just found out we can do either September or November so I am leaning toward Sept. instead. What is the general 'leaf' season? Do you know what the closest airport might be?
Thanks!
Jane
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May 10th, 2011, 02:13 AM
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November is way too late for leaves. September is a bit early, but the better choice.

This is a very beautiful part of the country, with many small villages like Harrisville and charming towns like Jaffrey, Rindge, New London, etc. You can climb Mt Monadnock or sit on the shores of Lake Sunapee, or go up to Hanover to see Dartmouth College.

It is a very compact area, so you can, with the aid of good maps, cover a lot of back country by car. Buy maps locally. Gas is less available than you might expect, so don't let the gauge fall too far.

Flying into Manchester makes a lot of sense, particularly if you are able to use SouthWest.
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May 10th, 2011, 02:19 AM
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September is a MUCH better choice. The weather is usually wonderful but November can be cold and drizzly (or nice and sunny). Even though Sept can be warm, be prepared for colder temps while hiking. Leaf or foliage season doesn't really start until the first week of October and color is probably best 2nd week for that area. No leaves in November.

MHT is the closest airport. Google maps says about 45 minutes. Concord NH is also about the same distance. Same for Nashua in another direction. And a little further to Keene, a college town, to the west. Francestown is in NH's quiet sw corner so driving time is slowed by country highways. Manchester is probably the best best for restaurant choices and things to do but all cities have some good features.

Sept is the month for the hawk migration (which I haven't seen) but Pack Monadnock is one of the areas for a hawk watch. You would still have good kayaking weather. I went with a friend once last summer and anxious to go again. Look for rental suggestions in that area. Just north of Concord you can do a half day trip on the Merrimack River which has several sandy beaches and some great bird watching (bald eagles nesting in the area). You could do some great day trips - browse old bookstores, head over into VT or even over to the coast to explore the Portsmouth area.
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May 10th, 2011, 05:30 AM
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Agree with others...September would be a much better choice. The colors have not started turning but the daytime-nighttime temps are my favorite for getting outdoors. It's also the least touristy warm weather month with the August kids going back to school and the October leaf-peepers not yet here.

The Monadnock region is great (very under-rated).

One of my favorite hikes in September is Pack Monadnock (AKA Miller State Park). September is hawk migration season and Pack is one of the best places in the state to view it from. Last Sept/Oct the Audubon society counted more than 10,000 hawks (Osprey, Harriers, Bald Eagles, Red Tail, etc). More info at http://www.nhaudubon.org/locations/raptor-observatories

ACKIslander forgot to mention Walpole, Keene and Peterborough (although Walpole and Keene are a bit farther away in the Monadnock Region). In 2007 Peterborough was named one of the Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in the U.S. and is a quintessential New England town that is pedestrian friendly with lots of shopping and dining options. Main Street Keene is a neat college town and Walpole a charming New England town that is home to Burdick's Chocolate and the Walpole Creamery...YUM! Closer to Francestown are New Boston and Hancock...also charming New England towns.

Just a bit North of Francestown is Hillsborough which has a few nice restaurants including Nonni's (one of our favorites for Italian), an old fashioned ice cream parlor and a fantastic German bakery (with soft pretzels). The draw to Hillsborough for me is the Stone Arch Bridges Tour. If it is warm enough, bring your swimming trunks (Gleason Falls Bridge) but these bridges are neat because they were formed without any mortar at all. More info at http://www.hillsboroughnhchamber.com/bridges.html

Of course Mt Monadnock has forty miles of hiking trails.

Peterborough is home to the award winning Peterborough Players. They have been performing professional summer stock in their renovated 1700s barn for almost eighty years.

Here is a link to our calendar of events in the area http://www.littleriverbedandbreakfas...sCalendar.html. Just click the "Next" button to forward from month to month till you get to September to see some of the highlights happening when you are here. I don't typically link to my site because I don't want to be seen as "selling" (which I am not) but I am confident you are using a timeshare at Crotched Mtn so this can strictly be viewed as informational.

Any other questions on the area...I am happy to help if I can (like restaurants and such).
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May 10th, 2011, 09:12 AM
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We were in Jaffrey and Peterborough the last week in September last fall. There were in fact spectacular maples in a number of places, but they were individual trees in a sea of green, not a sea of orange. I would say one in ten of the trees was glorious. That is better than it ever gets in coastal NE, not to say much of the rest of the world.

If you are lucky, there may be snow on the higher elevations in the White Mountains. No one has ever had long term success guessing the weather in NE.
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May 13th, 2011, 08:55 PM
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Thank you all for these great suggestions! RLFox184, I may drop in again to get those restaurant ideas! We are wait-listed for Yellowstone Park (which was originally our first choice) but have now made reservations at Crotched Mountain to secure our vacation plans. My daughter went to college in Rhode Island which we visited twice but I never got to NH - am excited about seeing this beautiful part of the states.
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Aug 23rd, 2011, 02:47 PM
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We are off in less than 3 weeks to Crotched Mountain in the Monadnock region of NH! Kind of nice to be going without deadlines and no real plan. Just going to be driving around to all the small towns I imagine.

RLFOX184 (or anyone else!) - any suggestions for dining?
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Aug 23rd, 2011, 03:27 PM
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Don't miss ice cream from Kimball Farm in Jaffrey!
http://www.kimballfarm.com/jaffrey.shtml
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Aug 23rd, 2011, 07:22 PM
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What kind of dining are you interested in?

Upscale: Pearl and Waterhouse in Peterborough are both excellent

Nice but more casual includes Sunflowers in Jaffrey and Del Rossi's in Dublin

Totally casual and tons of fun is Harlow's in Peterborough and as YK mentioned, Kimballs in Jaffrey which is like a clam shack without being on the beach and has wicked awesome ice cream

There's also Hancock Inn in Hancock (duh), people say good things about Tooky Mills Pub in Hillsborough, and there is a new Italian restaurant in Hillsborough that used to be called Nonni's and was excellent (not sure what is it called now).

Another ice cream spot is in Hillsborough as well and there is a German bakery next to that (German Johns) which has great breads and soft pretzels.

There is also an inn in Francestown called the Inn at Crotched Mountain and I know they serve dinner on Saturday nights.

Lots of links on our dining page at http://www.littleriverbedandbreakfas...nksDining.html

If you want specific recs on hikes, email me at [email protected] and tell me what kind of hiking you want to do. There are also some suggestions at www.nhlodging.org under their Trip Planner -> Outdoor Activities page.

Hope that helps and have a great time!
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Aug 24th, 2011, 03:45 AM
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If you get to Keene, Luca's is very good. Have only been there for lunch.
Haven't been to Tooky Mills in Hillborough in too long. Don't be concerned about area. It's a little rundown but food is excellent. There's a takeout barbecue place with a few tables near the downtown area (sorry, can't remember the name).

My husband likes to get lunch at Sunflower's Cafe in Jaffrey listed on the littleriverb&b website.

We're planning a day trip over to Brattleboro VT to visit the farmers market there. See their listing which includes some interesting ethnic foodstands. Then maybe up to Norwich to visit King Arthur Flour.

If you want a very interesting lunch, check out Pickety Place in Mason NH. You will need reservations.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 10:22 PM
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Thank you one and all for all your suggestions!!! I have filtered and made a potential list of things to see and do (including antique shops in the area)... not that we expect to get to all of them, but I wanted to compile whatever we may possibly want to do. So.... here it is. We are staying at Crotched Mountain Resort in Francesville, so a lot of the mileage is based on that. If there are more suggestions of what to see, where to eat, etc., let me know!

Monadnock Region of New Hampshire:

ALSTEAD:
(7 miles NE of Walpole)

Bascom Maple Farm (56 Sugarhouse Rd., Alstead. 603/835-6361. www.bascommaple.com) has been family run since 1853 and produces more maple than anyone in New England. Visit the 2,200-acre farm and get maple pecan pie and maple milk shakes.


ANTRIM:
(10 mi NW of Francestown

Court’s Cupboard Antiques, Route 202, Antrim, NH, Ph: 603-588-2455
Hemlock Hill Antiques, Route 9, Chesterfield, NH, Ph: 603-256-3281


DUBLIN:
(21 mi SW of Francestown & 6.5 mi NW of Peterborough)

Friendly Farm - great for kids of all ages who enjoy petting a goat, holding a chick or laughing at the silly piglets!

William Lary Antiques, Route 101 Main Street., Dublin, NH, Ph: 603-563-8603
Seaver And McLellan Antiques, Corner of Route 101 and 137, Dublin, NH, Ph: 603-563-7144


FITZWILLIAM:
(33 miles SW of Francestown & 6 miles due west of Rindge)

Fitzwilliam Antiques Centre, Corner of Routes 12, 11, Fitzwilliam, NH, Ph: 603-585-9092
Pregents Antiques, Route 12 South, Fitzwilliam, NH, Ph: 603-585-7766
Red Barn Antiques, 58 Richmond Road, Fitzwilliam, NH, Ph: 603-585-3134


HARRISVILLE:
(20 mi west of Francesville, before Keene)

Harrisville General Store, homemade apple cider, donuts, light breakfasts & lunches.
29 Church st, Harrisville, NH– the ONLY grocery store in town! Says M’Lue
Hours: open every day 8 am to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, www.harrisvillegeneralstore.com

HILLSBOROUGH:
(17 miles NW of Francesville)

Stone Arch Bridges, http://www.hillsboroughnhchamber.com/bridges.html
The draw to Hillsborough for me is the Stone Arch Bridges Tour. These bridges are neat because they were formed without any mortar at all. More info at http://www.hillsboroughnhchamber.com/bridges.html

Franklin Pierce Homestead

Hillsborough Bridge (aka downtown area) – Fodor’s says this isn’t a “pretty town”

From Fodor: Turn north from downtown up School Street, and continue 3 mi past Fox State Forest to reach one of the state's best-preserved historic districts, Hillsborough Center, where 18th-century houses surround a green. Continue north 6 mi through the similarly quaint village of East Washington, and another 6 mi to reach the Colonial town center of Washington. One of the highest villages in New Hampshire, this picturesque arrangement of white clapboard buildings made the cover of National Geographic several years back. You can loop back to Hillsborough proper via Route 31 south.

Richard Withington Antiques, Junction of Routes 9 & 31, Hillsboro, NH, Ph:603-464-3232

Wyndhurst Farm Antiques, Hillsboro, NH, Ph: 603-464-5377

Eats: Tooky Mills
German John's Bakery for pretzels
Nonni's Italian Restaurant


JAFFREY:
(24 mi SW, thru Peterborough) -. Looks like a charming town to visit

Eats: Sunflower's Cafe
Kimball's Ice Cream

KEENE:
(34 miles west of Francestown)

Keene’s Colony Mill Marketplace (antiques consignment), est. in 1838. 222 West Street, Keene, NH.
Open 10am-6pm, www.colonymillnh.com

NOTE: lots of thumbs-up for visiting Keene from the Fodor’s forum. Largest town in the SW corner of the state. Has the widest Main St. in America at 132 feet wide. Main Street Keene is a neat college town.

Trilliym Antiques, 63 Emerald Street, Keene, NH, Ph: 603-357-7461
Washington Street Gallery, 117 Washngton Street, Keene, NH, Ph: 603-352-4490
Woodward's Antiques, Route 101, 166 Main Street, Keene, NH, Ph: 603-876-3360

Eats: Luca's

MASON:
(27 mi due south of Francestown)
Eats: Pickety Place --- NEED REZ

PETERBOROUGH:
(18 mi SW of Francesville)

In 2007 Peterborough was named one of the Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in the U.S. and is a quintessential New England town that is pedestrian friendly with lots of shopping and dining options.

Ava Marie’s Handmade Chocolates, Grove Village Shops, 43 Grove Street, Peterborough
www.avamariechocolates.com

Peterborough Players theatre group that perform in a historic 1700s barn:
http://www.peterboroughplayers.org/lady-answers (this play starts Sep 14th). Tickets are $40
55 Hadley Road, Peterborough, NH 03458 • Box Office: 603-924-7585
Thorton Wilder’s Play “Our Town” is based on Peterborough.

Mariposa - world cultural museum

Sept is the month for the hawk migration and Pack Monadnock (aka Miller State Park) is one of the areas for a hawk watch. September is hawk migration season and Pack is one of the best places in the state to view it from. Last Sept/Oct the Audubon society counted more than 10,000 hawks (Osprey, Harriers, Bald Eagles, Red Tail, etc). More info at http://www.nhaudubon.org/locations/raptor-observatories

Also lots of antique stores including:
Red Chair Antiques, 13 School Street, Peterborough, NH, Ph: 603-924-5953

Don't hesitate to stop by the Jack Daniels Motor Inn for more information or the Greater Peterborough or Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce.

Eats: Harlow's (casual and fun)


RICHMOND:
(41 SW of Francestown, 13 mi due south of Keene)

John D. Wahl Antiques, Route 32, Richmond, NH, Ph: 603-239-7200
The Yankee Smuggler Antiques, Route 119, Richmond, NH, Ph: 603-239-4188

RINDGE:
(28 miles south of Francestown & 4 miles south of Jaffrey)

Cathedral of the Pines, 10 Hale Hill Road, Rindge, NH 03461.
Best view of the 3,165 ft. Grand Monadnock Mtn.
DON’T Google-map it as it is wrong!
Traveling north on route 202, when you come to the route 119 intersection, turn right. Travel 1.5 miles to first blinking yellow light intersection and turn left onto Cathedral Road. Approximately 1.5 miles to the Cathedral of the Pines entrance on the left. www.cathedralofthepines.org

STODDARD:
(22 mi NW of Francestown, halfway to Alstead)

Hemispheres Antique Maps and Prints, Stoddard, NH, Ph: 603-446-7181

WALPOLE:
(49 mi NW past Keene)

Boggy Meadow Farm – see how cheese is made. 13 Boggy Meadow Lane, Walpole, NH. No hours listed - Toll free: 1-877-541-3953, www.boggymeadowfarm.com. Fodors says this is a charming town.

Burdick's Chocolate and the Walpole Creamery

Yesterday's Treasures, 1 River Street, Walpole, NH, Ph: 603-445-2033

WEST SWANZEY:
(38 mi west of Francestown & 6 mi south of Keene)

Knotty Pine Antique Market, Route 10, West Swanzey, NH, Ph: 603-352-5252

Other towns to drive thru:
New Boston (7 mi east) – NOTE: I can’t find anything to do or see here out of the ordinary
Hancock (11 mi west) - ditto
New London (44 mi north) – ditto
Just north of Concord you can do a half day trip on the Merrimack River which has several sandy beaches and some great bird watching (bald eagles nesting in the area).
Norwich – home of King Arthur Flour.

Driving Tour #1: Once Around The Mountain (approx. 48 miles)

Starting from Peterborough, take Route 101 west for 5 miles to Route 137. Turn left on Route 137 heading south to Jaffrey. In Jaffrey, there are plenty of reasons to get out and stretch, including the Civic Center Exhibits, the Amos Fortune Home, and the old Red Schoolhouse that has been beautifully restored.
Next head west on Route 124. This road, more than 12 miles of scenic splendor, will bring you along the southern edge of Mt. Monadnock to the town of Marlborough. It rises over fair-sized hills and dips into beautiful lowlands. When you reach Marlborough, turn right onto Route 101, heading east; although this is a main highway, it skirts lovely Dublin Lake, and bisects Dublin.
If you still have time, turn left 2 miles east of Dublin on Route 137. This will bring you to the picturesque village of Hancock. Continuing through Hancock, Route 137 connects with U.S. 202. Turn right on 202 for a relaxing and scenic ride back to Peterborough.

Driving Tour #2: MONADNOCK REGION LOOP (approx. 80 miles)

A circular loop (with two cut-outs) through some of the most quintessentially New England towns in New Hampshire.
From Keene head southeast on Rt. 101 to Marlborough , then south on Rt. 124, which takes you past Monadnock State Park to Jaffrey . East of Jaffrey , turn north on Rt. 123 to Peterborough , known for its lively cultural offerings, then onto Rt. 136 to Greenfield .
In Greenfield , turn west on Forest Road, which rejoins Rt. 123 in Hancock. Continue west on 123; west of Stoddard you can either continue on Rt. 123 to much-photographed Marlow and the junction of Rt. 12A south, which will take you back to Keene . Or you can take Rt. 10 south past Gilsum , where you can either turn west on Surrey Road to Gilsum Road to Rt. 12A, or you can follow Rt. 10 south to Keene.
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Aug 29th, 2011, 10:33 PM
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Sorry... that would be FrancesTOWN, not Francesville
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Aug 30th, 2011, 02:23 AM
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Norwich, would be Norwich VT. As stated, Hillsborough is not a pretty town but Hillsborough Center and Washington are beautiful.
If you want a more scenic restaurant than Tooky Mills, head to Henniker, the next town, for Daniels and get a table overlooking the river.
If you like old books/used books, there's a great shop on Rt 101 in Marlborough ... and I can't remember the name. It is on your left if you are heading west toward Keene.
I can't remember quite where it is but I think your route might take you near the Yankee Seige, world famous pumpkin trebuchet in Greenfield. According the the website, no pumpkin chucking this year but you might see the unusual gates and wonder what the heck is there.

Check road information for travels along the CT River and VT. There's been some serious flood damage and destroyed covered bridges. Most of your routes mentioned should be fine but there was major destruction in the Quechee VT area. I think Keene is fine but Brattleboro VT to the west was under water this past weekend. I haven't heard of problems in the Walpole area but have a good road map handy if there's detours.
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Aug 30th, 2011, 05:50 AM
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Several comments (try to take them in order Cheezz listed):

dfrost, the bookshop in Marlborough is Homestead Books...neat store!

Dublin: Eats include Del Rossi's which we like a lot!

Harrisville: Also has a weaving center which is very cool and the pond in the center of town is very scenic!

Henniker: I second dfrost, if you get to Hillsborough you are not far from Henniker and Daniels has a nice spot right on the river.

Hillsborough: Nonni's is closed and there is a new Italian restaurant in its place. We have not been so cannot tell you whether it is worth the trip or not. There is also a new pub/restaurant right down there near Tooky Mills but have no tried it either (someone told me it was good). Next to German John's is a good ice cream shop.

BTW, I believe "Tooky" Mills Pub is named for the Contoocook River that flows through town.

Keene: The only city in SW New Hampshire is a college town. Main Street was the setting for the opening and closing scenes in Jumanji. In addition to Lucas there is also Nicolas and Pedrazzas (Mexican).

Mason: Parker's Maple Barn. Great breakfast place!

Peterborough: Red Chair is closed but there is also Murray's, Twin Elms, Junk & Java, and Crossroads (among some others). In addition to Harlow's, we also really like Waterhouse (right on the river) and Pearl. Lunch places include Twelve Pine, Nature's Green Grocer and Aesop's Tables inside the excellent Toadstool Bookshop.

www.shoppeterboroughnh.com and www.thatspeterborough.com.

Hancock: Fiddleheads is a nice breakfast/lunch spot!

Our favorite antiques spot you did not mention is the White Home collection in Wilton on Rt 101.

If you go all the way up to New London, that area along with Sunapee has a lot to offer. Since you like antiquing, I highly suggest Prospect Hill Antiques www.prospecthillantiques.com (check out the image at the bottom of the front page).

Here's a map we made of some of the antiques shops in the region: http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=...d573d6e3&msa=0
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Sep 3rd, 2011, 06:30 PM
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Dfrost and RLFox! Such great recommendations!! I'm going to go amend my list - we LOVE antiques and used book stores. Can't wait for this trip

BTW, do you know where we can get cider donuts?
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Sep 3rd, 2011, 07:45 PM
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My best guesses in the area would be Coll's Farm in Jaffrey or Tenney Farm in Antrim. If they don't have they might be able to tell you where you can get them.
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Sep 4th, 2011, 02:27 AM
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Thanks, RLFox, we visited Homestead books yesterday and if the OP gets to Keene there's a small bookstore there, too. If you get to Hillsborough/Henniker, Old Depot Books in Henniker is a big old barn full. There's a smaller used bookstore just a bit off Rt 202, Henniker Book Farm. I love the Toadstool Books in Peterborough which is half new books and half used.

Funny thing, I don't think I've ever had a cider donut in NH. Some orchards around Concord show up on a google search for cider donuts in NH. The current issue of Yankee Magazine has a recipe from King Arthur Flour. We visited Norwich VT yesterday and stopped in but I passed on the boiled cider syrup (supposedly a key ingredient).

Brattleboro VT's farmers market on Sat is a great variety of ethnic food stands, fresh veggies, baked goods, and handcrafts that I would put it on my list of places to visit. We didn't stop at Keene's farmers market but it looked good sized. Plan to have lunch at the Brattleboro Market. It looks like a community gathering. People stopping to visit with each other and just taking their time. Music playing. Very festive. I had read it was one of the best in Vermont. Didn't see any cider donuts but I did see some hard cider.
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